The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Fourth Quarter Sector Statistics Report for the Financial Year 2017/2018 report shows that Safaricom competitors are eating into its market share.
During the period under review, Safaricom recorded a total of 9.1 billion minutes originating from its network up from 8.4 billion minutes reported in the previous quarter.
This is attributed to the promotion plan ran by the provider where its voice inactive customers were offered discounted rates on voice calls.
On the contrary, its voice traffic market share dropped to 65.7 per cent from 66.5 per cent registered during the third quarter.
The operator recorded 34.6 billion minutes in 2017/18 from 35.6 billion minutes reported last year.
The volume of local mobile voice traffic originating from Airtel Networks limited increased to 4.2 billion minutes from 3.6 billion minutes registered last quarter.
Subsequently, its voice market share rose to 30.2 per cent from 28.7 per cent in the last quarter.
The total mobile voice traffic originating from Telkom Kenya Limited networks declined by 7.9 per cent during the period under review to 535.5 million from 581.7 million minutes reported during the previous period.
When compared to the previous financial year, a similar trend has been observed during whereby the total voice traffic dropped to 2.3 billion minutes from 2.7 billion minutes registered during the previous financial year.
The total local mobile voice traffic registered by Finserve Africa Limited grew to 38.9 million minutes during the period under review from 37.1 million minutes posted during the previous quarter.
The total voice traffic for the fiscal year dropped to 154.0 million from 187.3 million minutes recorded in the preceding fiscal year.
During the financial year 2017/18, Sema Mobile Services and Mobile Pay Limited recorded a total of 158,388 minutes and 117,535 minutes of local mobile voice traffic respectively.
Minutes of use per subscription increased to 102.0 during the quarter under review from 96.3 minutes reported in the third quarter.
The traditional mobile SMS service in Kenya has maintained an upward trend over the years regardless of stiff competition from over-the-top services such as WhatsApp.
This growth is mainly attributed to the competitive retail SMS tariffs coupled with lucrative SMS bundles offered by the various mobile operators.
During the fiscal year under review, total on-net and off-net messages stood at 66.8 billion marking an increase of 17.8 per cent from the previous financial year.
However, the number of messages sent per month per subscription has experienced a continuous drop since the first quarter of the fiscal year under review as illustrated in Figure 4 below.
Safaricom recorded 13.9 billion messages sent from its network during the quarter under review down from 14.1 billion messages reported in the previous quarter. Its SMS traffic increased substantially to 63.9 billion messages during financial year 2017/18 from 53.9 billion reported in the previous financial year.
Airtel Networks Limited registered 779.9 million messages sent from its network during the quarter under review up from 659.2 million messages recorded in the previous quarter. This trend has been observed during the financial year under review where the total number of outgoing SMS increased to 2.49 billion from 2.41 billion messages reported in the previous financial year.
Telkom Kenya limited registered a total of 82.0 million messages originating from its network during the quarter under review. This marked a decline of 4.2 per cent compared to 85.6 million messages recorded in the last quarter. However, the number of originating messages recorded during the financial year under review increased to 333.8 million messages from 267.5 million messages reported in 2016/17.
Finserve Africa Limited reported a total of 8.9 million messages during the fourth quarter up from 8.2 million messages recorded in the third quarter. On the other hand, the number of messages sent during the year under review declined to 34.1 million from 36.5 million messages reported during the previous year.
Sema Mobile Services Limited and Mobile Pay limited recorded the least number of originating messages recorded at 33,336 and 76,773 messages respectively.
The total revenue earned by mobile service providers increased by 8.5 per cent in 2017/18 to Sh252.33 billion from Sh232.56 billion reported in 2016/17. It is evident that the revenue ratio of traditional mobile voice service is dominant at 41.7 per cent of the total revenue.
The value of investment made by operators rose to Sh41.52 billion in 2017/18 from Sh40.98 billion reported in 2016/17. The number of employees working in the mobile service sector increased from 6,907 reported last financial year to 7,016 in 2017/18.